Manitoba Nature Action Collaborative for Children (MNACC)

image003 (1)The Manitoba Nature Action Collaborative for Children (MNACC) is a regional chapter of the international NACC working group of the World Forum Foundation.

Shortly after the turn of the Century Ron Blatz (our Executive Director) began to be concerned about the indoor focus that Canadian child care programs like Discovery had developed.  He learned of the poor reputation Canadian centres had when compared to programs in other developed nations (OECD report), in the area of how much time children spend outdoors. This coupled with the impact of attending a workshop with Jim Greenman which led Discovery Centre on a journey to “Leave No Child Inside”.

Not wanting this change to affect only the children at Discovery, the idea of forming a group of like-minded individuals was hatched.  A meeting date was set, a call was put out and 125 interested individuals showing up at that first meeting nearly a decade ago.  The group eagerly took on the task of “Fighting Nature Deficit Disorder”  (a term coined by Richard Louv of the Children & Nature Network)  and future meetings were planned and new colleagues were recruited as we sought to grow the movement.  We now know  that a similar movement has begun in many communities around the world and once connected with them we decided to forge a formal connection between our group and the Nature Action Collaborative for Children, an international working group of the World Forum Foundation.

Discovery Centre’s Executive Director continues to lead this group and the group continues to meet in Winnipeg, Canada about 3 times per year.  We are excited that teachers from the public school system (in the early years) are also joining us in increasing numbers.  Together we are re-discovering the many benefits that nature has for us as we help care for and educate the children of our nation. 

If you would like to be on the list to receive e-mails form this group (about once every two months) please sign up below.

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Canada 150 – Gardening Challenge

Canada 150 – Gardening Challenge Brochure

In 2016 the Discovery Children’s Centre began to dream about growing 10% of our snack food on site. For us, this meant trying to grow enough food in our garden boxes to supply at least one snack per week for our children. As beginner gardeners we wondered how doable this goal of 10% really was, and for how many weeks of the year we could keep this up. We had such amazing success and wonderful experiences with this challenge that we are now confident that this 10% goal is attainable and is worthy of a bit of competition!

So, in Celebration of Canada’s 150 birthday the MNACC group and Discovery Children’s Centre are throwing out a challenge to the Early Childhood community from around the world. We urge you to join the challenge and begin the planning process to grow 10% of the snack food, for as many weeks as possible in 2017. For those of us in the prairies of Canada it will be a strong reminder of the big role that the production of food has been in the history of our great country.

Please sign up if you have made a decision to try the Canada 150 Gardening Challenge. This is intended to be used for educational purposes only. If you are needing some support, you can probably find a centre or school in your community that has also joined the challenge and with whom you could make contact. Thanks so much for celebrating this great country by instilling a love of gardening in a new generation of Canadians.

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Two Week Outdoor Challenge (T.W.O.)

T.W.O. Brochure

In 2011 Doris Storey (staff at Discovery Centre) began to dream about creating an outdoor experience that was beyond what is normally provided in Canada.   Within weeks this was picked up by a few other Winnipeg centres, who then encouraged us to turn it into a “Two Week Outdoor Challenge”.  Centres and school across Western Canada have participated and many are reporting this as being the best 2 weeks of their year.

Although it is called the “Two Week Outdoor Challenge” we are not stuck on the length of time that the Challenge runs.  If 2 hours, two half days, or one week are a better way for you to start then go for it.  We are simply encouraging teachers and Early Childhood Educators to go beyond what they have done before, and see for themselves how positively the children respond to this extended period of outdoor learning and play.  For more information see the attached brochure.

We have decided to leave the date of the challenge up to each individual group to choose.  Although this doesn’t work so well for promotional purposes we find that School calendars and those of Child Care programs are very different and we want this Challenge to work best for you.  We have centres here in Winnipeg taking up the challenge anywhere from May – October.  Some are choosing to do a week in Spring and the second week in Fall so children get a chance to really sink their teeth into the different seasons.  Some centres are running the Challenge at a local park which is providing them with a better natural play space than they have on site.  You choose the time and place, but please do sign up for the challenge, so we can help facilitate connections between programs who are participating.  Have a blast!

Please sign up if you have made a decision to try the T.W.O. Challenge.  This information will be visible to all others and is intended to be used by educational purposes only.  If you are needing some support you can probably find a centre or school in your community that you could connect with.  This is how we do things in our MNACC group.

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